Moses and Pharoah

Take a moment to remember the most difficult conversation you’ve ever experienced.  What happened?  Did you lose sleep at night worrying about it?  Did your palms get sweaty?  Did your heart race?  Did your tongue tie?

I’ve experienced a number of difficult conversations the past few months; my anticipation of each one came with a sense of dread, a pit in my stomach and a lot of “Help me, Lord” prayers throughout the day.

Because difficult conversations have been such a theme for me in this past season, I was fascinated to discover the creative way God showed me how he “doesn’t waste nothin’” in our lives.  In fact, he uses difficult conversations and situations to develop a part of us which is needed for the “next season” he’s preparing us to enter.

Last week I intended to read Deuteronomy 5, but without realizing it, read Exodus 5 instead.  I kept wondering when I was going to get to the 10 Commandments; but instead I read about one difficult conversation after another.  Moses and Aaron went to Pharoah for the first time.  I can only imagine that their sense of dread for their conversation increased with every step they took up the palace stairs.  They comforted themselves that it would be over quickly, and they’d be on their way out to the Promised Land soon.

When they stood before Pharoah, they gulped and told him, “The Israelites need to go out to the desert to worship the Lord on the mountain for three days.”

Needless to say, Pharoah wasn’t pleased with their request.  His response was a reactionary, “Not going to happen, and because you made this request, I am going to break the Israelites back by forcing them to make their own bricks for building.”

Of course, the Isrealites were pretty unhappy. They thought Moses had come to deliver them, not to break their backs.  They relieved their anxiety by lashing out at Moses and Aaron and calling them a stench (oh yes that’s right, the stench comes later when the river turns to blood!)

Do you see the progression of whose confronting whom?  Moses confronts Pharoah, Pharoah confronts the Isrealites, the Isrealites yell at Moses, and now Moses, more stressed than ever, confronts God.  He asks him point blank, “I thought you were going to deliver the Isrealites, not make their life even more difficult. What’s going on?”

Remember, Moses wasn’t waiting in line to apply for this role; he was drafted by a burning bush in the desert!

Exodus chapter 5 ends with Moses’ attempting to resign his role of Israelite Deliverer.

So, here’s the important point of what I learned last week when I thought I was reading something else. Before I started to read, I said to the Lord, “I need some help, Lord.  I haven’t recovered from the difficult conversation of last week; I still have the pit in my stomach.”

So, the Lord in his goodness, steered me to Exodus 5 to show me an invaluable “Lord Lesson,” something he gives us when we cry out for his help.

This “Lord Lesson” is about strengthening our “spiritual muscle” so we are prepared and ready for the next season the Lord has designed for us.

This is what I learned:

  1. Moses wasn’t ready to take a million ex-slaves into the desert on route to the Promised Land.
  2. His identity as a Deliverer and his trust in God weren’t sufficiently developed after one conversation.
  3. Moses expected to confront Pharoah one time, but instead he had to confront him, eleven times!
  4. However, each time Moses went before Pharoah, he became more prepared to walk out his new season as a Deliver and Leader of an entire nation.
  5. The greater the challenge the Lord puts us through, the greater the call that awaits us!

I realized during my surprise Scripture encounter that God gives us “Pharoah’s” as gifts!

He ties up the package with beautiful bows that represent an untying that needs to take place in us, an unwrapping, needed to get to the beautiful gift inside the box.

The Lord showed me that all the challenge I’ve lived out in my difficult conversations were his preparation for my next season: one that involves an opportunity to lead people from their bondage to freedom.

I need to be ready so I can trust God at much greater depths than I have ever trusted him before. The Lord also wanted me to know that I know that I know that I know . . . the depth of my trust in his character. I must be willing to follow him anywhere; even into a desert to be pushed up against a red sea, with absolutely nowhere to go, as the sounds of the pursuing chariots coming ever closer.

Everything with God is such a surprise. 

I never expected to find myself thanking him for the people behind the difficult conversations; being grateful for the struggle they’ve brought me, but that’s what’s happened.

As I reflected on my surprise encounter, I recognize how easy it is for us to consider our difficulties as an attack from our enemy, which must be prayed away, rather than a gift from our loving Heavenly Father, who wants to give us one good gift after another.

We must learn to tell the difference between our Heavenly Father’s good gifts and the enemie’s thievery.

So, what’s your challenge?

What difficult conversation or experience never seems to go away for you, but only increases in intensity?

Perhaps, the Lord is giving you an opportunity to “develop your spiritual muscle” because the gift on the other side of the water is waiting for you to unwrap it.

Take some time this week to read Exodus 5 while you ask God to give you a new vantage point from which to consider your “difficult experiences.”  You may be very surprised by what you find!

My hope is that you find a trustworthy Father who is bringing about the best in your life.  I know this is what he wants you to see because he wants you to experience the depths at which you can trust his love for you, his character of faithfulness to you, and his unending presence with you in the “Lord Lessons.”